A Bishop of a well-known Black Pentecostal denomination is facing a possible jail sentence, after pleading guilty to stealing over £180,000 whilst working at Bethel Convention Centre in the West Midlands.
Bishop Gerald Edmund, aged 76, of Bethel United Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic, pleaded guilty when he appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court in July, to face charges of two counts of theft and one of fraud by false representation. He was released on bail. He is due to be sentenced in November.
It came to the church’s attention that Bishop Edmund was misappropriating funds, whilst he was working as a line manager at the Bethel Convention Centre (BCC) in West Bromwich, and it took place over a period of eight months starting in 2010. When the church, which manages BCC, realised Bishop Edmunds had been unlawfully taking money, they notified the Charity Commission and the police. Bishop Edmund was subsequently charged.
A statement issued on behalf of the church by Communications Officer, Nathan Simmonds, states, “We can confirm that a sum of money has been misappropriated from the Bethel Convention Centre (BCC); the matter is currently in the hands of the Public Prosecution Service.”
Many people will feel let down by Bishop Edmund, who is very well known in his home town of Bristol. He led a Bethel church between 1962 and 2012; it was one of the largest and most well-known Black Pentecostal churches in the Bristol area. The Bishop also served the local community as a magistrate.